Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Walking Away - Chapter 2: Coyote Hunt

Doug didn’t need this shit. He was on full time disability but the payments just weren’t enough sometimes so he moonlighted as a hotshot. When someone bought a vehicle across the country and needed it brought back in a hurry, he would drive straight through to bring it back. This was called making a hotshot run. He had just gotten back from a run to San Diego only six hours before and now someone was on the phone wanting him to make another run to a hick town in the hills of northwest Arkansas.

Doug had a whopper of a cold coming on that he had apparently caught somewhere along the way from his last trip. It was a cold and rainy fall here in Iowa and he just hadn’t wanted to make a sixteen-hour run to anywhere but he couldn’t just turn down business so he had quoted double the normal price and bastard had agreed. He didn’t need this shit but he was going to have to do it like it or not. He jotted down the details and hung up the phone.

He thought about calling up his buddies and calling the coyote hunting off for the afternoon but decided a little beer with the boys might ward off the head cold. He grabbed a beer for the road from the fridge and walked out to his truck. Damn he was proud of that truck. He had bought salvage rights to it from an insurance outfit and had fixed it up with his disability checks. He had jacked it up and put a killer set of knobbies on it along with a row of KC spotlights and a custom paint job. A gun rack and three guns filled the rear window along with two large decals of the Dixie flag and an “I’m a BUSHman” decal. After all, aren’t all gun loving individuals republicans? He fired the mother up and headed out to the truck stop.

Five years had passed since Doug had hurt his back at his factory job. He had screwed it up but it had eventually gotten to the point it hardly slowed him down at all. He felt that he had been screwed over all his life and finally he had a chance to screw the man so he had gotten full time disability. The doctor who swung by this small town once a week was a drug addict to pain pills so they had made an arrangement. The doctor kept prescribing them to Doug along with vouching for his disability and all Doug had to do was forget to take his pain pills when he left the office. The doctor was happy and Doug got to follow his two passions of beer and hunting, in that order.

He and his buddies like to hunt coyotes mostly because it gave them an excuse to get away from the nagging wife and screaming kids for a while. Doug’s wife had left him several years ago mercifully taking the kids, so he just like to get out of the house when his buddies got off of their day jobs. They would go out south of town where nothing but largely unused gravel and dirt roads stretched from here to the Missouri line. They would turn their dogs loose and drive around in the four-wheel drive trucks drinking beer and shooting the breeze. The dogs would eventually scare up a coyote and run them until eventually they crossed a road or an open field right next to the road. At that point, Doug or one of his buddies would stop the truck, remove the loaded rifle from the rack in the window (where it was nice and handy), climb into the bed and blow the vermin’s brains out. If it was a good one they could get $20 for it but these days, $5 to $10 was about the norm and all proceeds were split four ways in beer.

Doug wheeled into the truck stop parking lot where his buddies were waiting. One hopped into his truck since he had the dogs and kennels in the back and the other two went in another truck similarly equipped with kennels, dogs, beer and guns. They drove south of town along the old fairgrounds road, which was mostly a two-track dirt road these days. Five minutes later, they pulled into a field entrance owned by a farmer who lived a couple miles away as the crow flies. The farmer had run Doug off his land a few times for hunting illegally but this was a Thursday afternoon and all the fieldwork was done for the season. The chances and the farmer driving by were slim and besides, Doug didn’t give a flying rip if he did because there was nothing the farmer could do besides call a game warden. Doug never trespassed and he was just trying to retrieve his dogs, which had run over into the field despite his efforts to call them back. At least that is what he told the warden and their wasn’t much anybody could do. Screw the farmer.

Doug grabbed a pair of wire cutters from the truck to snip a few strands of the fence and then turned the dogs loose into the farmer’s field. They tore off into the cold and rainy afternoon and Doug decided he needed to take a piss. He unzipped and let loose right on the NO TRESPASSING sign nailed to the wooden gate. How’s that for an insult you bastard. He returned to the warmth of the truck where he turned on the CB and radioed the other truck that the dogs were loose. He tossed his empty beer can out the window and grabbed a fresh one from the ice chest behind the seat. His throat was starting to itch and his nose was beginning to run. Damn this cold!

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